A Guide to the Parsing of Pāḷi

translated by
Ānandajoti Bhikkhu

 

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In parsing a sentence in Pāḷi we break it down into syllables.

1) In Pāḷi syllables are made with a vowel or a consonant followed by a vowel
2) There are open and closed syllables.
3) An open syllable is one in which the syllable ends in a vowel (it is light in weight).
4) A closed syllable ends in either a consonant or a niggahīta (ṁ) (it is heavy in weight).

In what follows kh, gh, ch, jh, ṭh, ḍh, th, dh, ph, bh, ḷh, are aspirates and considered to be single consonants

When parsing Pāḷi sentences there are a few rules to abide by

1) a syllable followed by another vowel or by a single consonant is open and divided after the vowel, e.g. mā-tā-pi-tu-u-paṭ-ṭhā-naṁ, vi-ha-ra-ti
2) a syllable followed by a double consonant is closed and divided after the first consonant, e.g. -ña-ta-rā, sā-vat-thi-yaṁ
3) niggahīta (ṁ) is always joined to the previous vowel and the syllable is closed, e.g. taṁ, e-vaṁ, su-taṁ

 

Example Mahāmaṅgalasuttaṁ

 

evaṁ me sutaṁ
e-vaṁ me su-taṁ

ekaṁ samayaṁ bhagavā
e-kaṁ sa-ma-yaṁ bha-ga-vā

sāvatthiyaṁ viharati jetavane
sā-vat-thi-yaṁ vi-ha-ra-ti je-ta-va-ne

anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme.
a-nā-tha-piṇ-ḍi-kas-sa ā-rā-me.

atha kho aññatarā devatā
a-tha kho añ-ña-ta-rā de-va-tā

abhikkantāya rattiyā,
a-bhik-kan-tā-ya rat-ti-yā,

abhikkantavaṇṇā kevalakappaṁ
a-bhik-kan-ta-vaṇ-ṇā ke-va-la-kap-paṁ

jetavanaṁ obhāsetvā, yena bhagavā
je-ta-va-naṁ o-bhā-se-tvā, ye-na bha-ga-vā

tenupasaṅkami, upasaṅkamitvā
te-nu-pa-saṅ-ka-mi, u-pa-saṅ-ka-mi-tvā

bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā
bha-ga-van-taṁ a-bhi-vā-de-tvā

ekam-antaṁ aṭṭhāsi.
e-ka-man-taṁ aṭ-ṭhā-si.

ekam-antaṁ ṭhitā kho sā devatā
e-ka-man-taṁ ṭhi-tā kho sā de-va-tā

bhagavantaṁ gāthāya ajjhabhāsi
bha-ga-van-taṁ gā-thā-ya aj-jha-bhā-si

 

“bahū devā manussā ca
“ba-hū de-vā ma-nus-sā ca

maṅgalāni acintayuṁ
maṅ-ga-lā-ni a-cin-ta-yuṁ

ākaṅkhamānā sotthānaṁ
ā-kaṅ-kha-mā-nā sot-thā-naṁ

brūhi maṅgalam-uttamaṁ.” [1]
brū-hi maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-maṁ.”

 

“asevanā ca bālānaṁ,
“a-se-va-nā ca bā-lā-naṁ,

paṇḍitānañ-ca sevanā
paṇ-ḍi-tā-nañ-ca se-va-nā

pūjā ca pūjanīyānaṁ
pū-jā ca pū-ja-nī-yā-naṁ

etaṁ maṅgalam-uttamaṁ. [2]
e-taṁ maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-maṁ.

 

paṭirūpadesavāso ca,
pa-ṭi-rū-pa-de-sa-vā-so ca,

pubbe ca katapuññatā
pub-be ca ka-ta-puñ-ña-tā

attasammāpaṇidhi ca
at-ta-sam-mā-pa-ṇi-dhi ca

etaṁ maṅgalam-uttamaṁ. [3]
e-taṁ maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-maṁ.

 

bāhusaccañ-ca sippañ-ca,
bā-hu-sac-cañ-ca sip-pañ-ca,

vinayo ca susikkhito,
vi-na-yo ca su-sik-khi-to,

subhāsitā ca yā vācā
su-bhā-si-tā ca yā vā-cā

etaṁ maṅgalam-uttamaṁ. [4]
e-taṁ maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-maṁ.

 

mātāpitu-upaṭṭhānaṁ,
mā-tā-pi-tu-u-paṭ-ṭhā-naṁ,

puttadārassa saṅgaho,
put-ta-dā-ras-sa saṅ-ga-ho,

anākulā ca kammantā
a-nā-ku-lā ca kam-man-tā

etaṁ maṅgalam-uttamaṁ. [5]
e-taṁ maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-maṁ.

 

dānañ-ca dhammacariyā ca,
dā-nañ-ca dham-ma-ca-ri-yā ca,

ñātakānañ-ca saṅgaho,
ñā-ta-kā-nañ-ca saṅ-ga-ho,

anavajjāni kammāni
a-na-vaj-jā-ni kam-mā-ni

etaṁ maṅgalam-uttamaṁ. [6]
e-taṁ maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-maṁ.

 

ārati virati pāpā,
ā-ra-ti vi-ra-ti pā-pā,

majjapānā ca saññamo,
maj-ja-pā-nā ca sañ-ña-mo,

appamādo ca dhammesu
ap-pa-mā-do ca dham-me-su

etaṁ maṅgalam-uttamaṁ. [7]
e-taṁ maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-maṁ.

 

gāravo ca nivāto ca,
gā-ra-vo ca ni-vā-to ca,

santuṭṭhī ca kataññutā,
san-tuṭ-ṭhī ca ka-tañ-ñu-tā,

kālena dhammasavaṇaṁ
kā-le-na dham-ma-sa-va-ṇaṁ

etaṁ maṅgalam-uttamaṁ. [8]
e-taṁ maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-maṁ.

 

khantī ca sovacassatā,
khan-tī ca so-va-cas-sa-tā,

samaṇānañ-ca dassanaṁ,
sa-ma-ṇā-nañ-ca das-sa-naṁ,

kālena dhammasākacchā
kā-le-na dham-ma-sā-kac-chā

etaṁ maṅgalam-uttamaṁ. [9]
e-taṁ maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-maṁ.

 

tapo ca brahmacariyañ-ca,
ta-po ca brah-ma-ca-ri-yañ-ca,

ariyasaccānadassanaṁ,
a-ri-ya-sac-cā-na-das-sa-naṁ,

nibbānasacchikiriyā ca
nib-bā-na-sac-chi-ki-ri-yā ca

etaṁ maṅgalam-uttamaṁ. [10]
e-taṁ maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-maṁ.

 

phuṭṭhassa lokadhammehi,
phuṭ-ṭhas-sa lo-ka-dham-me-hi,

cittaṁ yassa na kampati,
cit-taṁ yas-sa na kam-pa-ti,

asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ
a-so-kaṁ vi-ra-jaṁ khe-maṁ

etaṁ maṅgalam-uttamaṁ. [11]
e-taṁ maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-maṁ.

 

etādisāni katvāna,
e-tā-di-sā-ni kat-vā-na,

sabbattha-m-aparājitā,
sab-bat-tha-ma-pa-rā-ji-tā,

sabbattha sotthiṁ gacchanti
sab-bat-tha sot-thiṁ gac-chan-ti

taṁ tesaṁ maṅgalam-uttaman.”-ti [12]
taṁ te-saṁ maṅ-ga-la-mut-ta-man.”-ti

 

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